Gender equality

Regional workshops for ILO partners on delivering inclusive business development services

In early September, representatives of ILO partner organizations from across the region gathered for two workshops to increase their knowledge on how to deliver more gender-inclusive business development services.

News | 19 September 2022
Selected participants from the workshop.
The two workshops, which took place virtually on 5 and 7 September, were designed to provide foundational-level capacity building on gender-inclusive service provision, for partners involved in the design and delivery of financial and non-financial business development services to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

In total, around 35 participants joined the workshops from countries including Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines and Thailand. Participants represented organizations including employers’ associations, government agencies, business development service providers and non-governmental organizations working on women’s or youth issues.

The workshops covered content in the publication “Gender Inclusive Service Provision: A Quick Guide for Financial and Business Development Service Providers”, which was released in February this year. Participants were able to learn more on the basics of gender-inclusive service provision including key terms, gender-inclusive programme design and delivery, how to identify gender gaps and measure success. The workshops included practical examples, discussions in breakout rooms and other interactive activities.

When asked about the workshop, participants expressed their appreciation for the ability to incorporate their “own experiences and learnings about the topic” and for hearing and exchanging ideas with people from various backgrounds. Attendees also highlighted the practical exercises and activities to apply new learnings as something that they particularly liked about the workshops.

The workshops were co-organized by three different projects supporting MSMEs in the region: the “Rebuilding Better: Fostering Business Resilience Post-COVID-19” Project, the “Decent Work in the Garment Sector Supply Chains in Asia” Project and the “Supporting Cambodian MSMEs to Build Resilience for post-COVID-19” Project. The ILO also partnered with the organization Value for Women who facilitated both two sessions.

Part of the ILO’s ongoing efforts to support an inclusive and sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the workshops sought to foster greater gender equality and inclusiveness in financial and business development services.